In the week since our last update, more World Baseball Classic News has come out. Here’s some of it (I may get some stragglers tomorrow):
Team USA gets a manager
It’s been announced that Mark DeRosa will be the skipper for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. It’s a bit of a surprise pick, as I and others assumed it’d be a retired manager like Mike Scioscia. However, instead USA Baseball is going young. While DeRosa has never managed professionally, he’s been thrown about in the past as a potential future candidate and is well-liked around the game. Plus, his day job as an analyst and host at MLB Network means he’s well-acquainted with most of the MLB players in the tournament. DeRosa played for Team USA in the 2009 WBC and had a long career in the majors as a super-utility man.
Ohtani can play
Shohei Ohtani didn’t play in the last WBC due to injury, but if he wants to he can in this one. The Angels have granted him permission to take part. Technically, he could have played anyway as WBC rules only allow teams to deny permission under certain circumstances like if they were on the injured list, but players- especially pitchers- generally will take team requests to heart and so if the Angels didn’t want him to play it’s likely he wouldn’t.
This needless to say is a huge get for both Samurai Japan and the tournament in general. The Japanese uniforms for Ohtani will sell extremely well, and the tournament instantly gets another marketable star to slap on some billboards and commercials.
Altuve in for Venezuela, Lopez to manage
Jose Altuve has confirmed he’s planning to play for Venezuela in 2023. Altuve previously played in the WBC in 2017. Managing Altuve will be someone familiar to him: Houston first-base coach Omar Lopez.
Alonso becomes latest position player to confirm for Team USA
The Polar Bear himself, Pete Alonso, has confirmed he’s in for Team USA. One of the best sluggers in the lead, the Mets first-baseman joins Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Nolan Arenado, J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Story, and Paul Goldschmidt as played who have signed up for Team USA. Notably, there still have yet to be any pitchers to announce their interest, but at least as far as position players the USA is looking good so far for defending its WBC title.
More WBC News and Reports:
- Astros bench coach Joe Espada is being considered the front-runner for the Puerto Rico manager job.
- Other Angels who may be taking part in the WBC include Jose Quijada for Venezuela and possibly Luis Rengifo for either Venezuela or Colombia.
- Pakistani-American Gibran Hamdan will be suiting up for Pakistan int the qualifiers. If that name rings a bell to you, it’s probably because Hamdan is a former NFL quarterback. Baseball was his first love and he hit well at Indiana University decades ago, and so he’s suiting up one more time in qualifiers.
Look for more WBC updates in the coming days!